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Predictions Friday: The Last Gasp Before Voting Ends — Are Some Categories Locked?

There is a method to the madness in predicting the Oscars. We tend to live or die by intuition. Some of us need more than that. We need some sort of fact to rely on — whether that’s a stat or whether it’s a poll. My intuition has a 50% success rate, I’d say, overall. Stats also don’t always tell you what’s about to happen, only what HAS happened.

Still, at this moment, I’m finding it difficult to fight the massive stat advantage Three Billboards has heading into this race. It could come down to the editing nomination it has, where Get Out and Lady Bird do not (though Dunkirk and The Shape of Water do). Winning Toronto, SAG, Globe, and BAFTA also appears to be an unbeatable combo. Without SAG, Three Billboards would not be such a towering stat achiever and indeed for each of these wins you can point to specific reasons why. Like, it’s what foreigners think of America. Or it had no competition. Or it was actor-driven.

Over at Movie City News, I kind of like what Dave Karger has going. He has Get Out winning just a single Oscar, Best Picture. He has Three Billboards winning Original Screenplay. The pundits are still split on Best Picture and Best Screenplay — these are the two most hotly contested races at the moment.

I have, as you can see, Three Billboards for Best Picture and Get Out for Screenplay. I can see them swapping (we never saw them face down at the WGA because Three Billboards was not eligible). I can also see one winning both. They are the two most unpredictable awards imaginable.

But I’d add another one: editing.

So many very smart pundits have Baby Driver winning there. Why wouldn’t the Best Picture frontrunner be taking that? Surely, The Shape of Water might, if it was winning Best Picture, right? Since the Best Picture race expanded, editing has only gone to the Best Picture winner two out of eight times. Before the ballot expanded, say from 2000 to 2009, five times the editing winner matched the Best Picture winner. It appears that Best Picture and Editing do not really have the same correlation they used to, which matches how the Best Picture winner has unbuckled from Best Director too. Still, I wonder about editing this year. When you look at a movie that had, at the very least, SAG and BAFTA, you only have The King’s Speech and Argo. One won editing and the other didn’t. The one that didn’t win Director (because it couldn’t) won editing.

Birdman remains the only Best Picture winner that did not also have an editing nomination in the era of the preferential ballot. Before that, you have to go all the way back to Ye Aulde Ordinary People stat to find a year where a film won Best Pic without one. That would tend to favor one of the three that do — but there is just no telling this year, right?

Let’s go through the categories and see which films COULD win, if there is any wiggle room.

Here are the near locks, as we all see it right now. Of course, any of them could snap and break — we just don’t know. But for now, these are most commonly predicted winners.

Best Director
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water (Venice, Golden Globe, DGA, BAFTA)

Best Actor
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA)

Best Actress
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards (Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA)

Supporting Actress
Allison Janney, I Tonya (Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA)

Supporting Actor
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards (Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA)

Adapted Screenplay
Call Me By Your Name (Golden Globe, WGA, BAFTA)

Blade Runner 2049, Roger Deakins finally wins (ASC, BAFTA)

Animated Feature

Production Design 
The Shape of Water (BAFTA)

The Shape of Water  (Golden Globe, BAFTA)

Darkest Hour

Now onto the more open-ended categories

Best Picture
Down to three:
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Globe/SAG/BAFTA)
Get Out
The Shape of Water

There is always the chance that it could be:

My prediction for now is: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Original Screenplay
Could be any of the five but most likely down to:
Three Billboards (Globe, BAFTA)
Get Out (WGA)

My prediction for now is: Get Out

Here’s the key, though. In the era of the preferential ballot Picture and Screenplay are usually locked. The odd nature of this year, which puts all of the Best Picture contenders in original screenplay it seems more likely that this could split (or not).

Could be: Baby Driver, brilliant editing but depends on all members having seen the movie
More likely a Best Picture contender, so:
Dunkirk (ACE)
Three Billboards
The Shape of Water

My prediction for now is: Three Billboards (but I might revert to Dunkirk)

The Shape of Water (BAFTA)
Phantom Thread

My prediction for now is Phantom Thread

Sound Mixing/Sound Editing
Baby Driver

This appears to be Dunkirk’s to lose but Baby Driver, with so much music blended in with weaponry — it could take Editing and both sound categories. But for now my prediction is Dunkirk for both.

Original Song

Stand up for Something – Diane Warren is so overdue.
Mighty River – Mary J. Blige makes history with dual nominations for song and acting.
Remember Me – Coco, never underestimate Coco.

My prediction for now is Mighty River as a nod to Mudbound, a film everyone loves.

Animated Short
Dear Basketball
Garden Party

I am predicting Garden Party but Lou or Dear Basketball could easily win.

Doc Short
All five could win. Totally wide open.

I am predicting, for now, Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405

Live Action Short
The Eleven O’Clock
Dekalb Elementary
My Nephew Emmett

Not sure how this is going to go. But I suppose I’ll go with My Nephew Emmett because of how great it is.

Foreign Language
Could be any of the five – I’m predicting A Fantastic Woman for now.

Documentary Feature
Could be any of the five and I have no clue which one will win. For now, I’ll predict Icarus to win.

There you have it, my friends, a not very scientific Predictions Friday.  How are your predictions coming along?